It really has been a week of mixed things, and one can certainly not say that it's been boring.
The weather has, on the whole, been dry at least, although a constant cloud covering has meant that not only has it been bitterly cold all of the time, but also dull. Things on the gardening front are still very slow, as nothing is really growing still. Usually at this point in the year, grass is well under way, shrubs have an early covering of leaves and weeds have started to grow in earnest. But buds are still only just beginning to show and the grass really isn't moving....yet! Still, we have managed to get a few extra things done, and a bit about that in a moment.
For now, the first thing to mention is our evening at St.Ambrose Church in Westbourne to see a choir perform the St.John Passion. It was sung by the Bournemouth University Choir, one which we both hope to join at some point during the year, and was accompanied by a small but good quality orchestra. I must apologise for the quality of the picture below, but people were just settling down ready for the start, and I quickly lifted my mobile phone up for a quick shot with nobody in the way.
The Passion is a haunting and moving piece, and a little of it can be heard in the clip below of the movie by the same name. I don't know if any of you have seen the film yet, but if you haven't, you should.
Back to gardening, and the Sandbanks house. With the rear garden complete and just needing to grow a little, it's time to attack the front garden. Everything must be removed to leave the bare bones of the layout, so that borders can be moved, changed or renovated. There were many large shrubs to take out, and so we enlisted the help of sons-in law Dom and Matt.
While they set about with their task of removing everything, Amanda took secateurs into the rear garden to start tidying up the Laurel hedge, and I began the long task of creating the new border shapes ready for planting. Some of the grass in the picture below shall remain, but be replaced with artificial grass for very low maintenance.
Three quarters of the shrubs being removed had to have their rootballs bagged up tight, and be taken to another site about a mile away when we had finished for the day, and of the remainder, a few past their best were discarded, and those that we intended to re-use in the new scheme were bagged up and stored safely to one side. The large Fatsias, of which there were three, rather than bagging up, were to be transplanted as I made the new border. Beautiful specimens that I didn't want to take any chances with, and created an instant effect in their intended final resting place.
Amanda thought that I looked like a funny old man as I barrowed the first one, but it was top heavy, and my stoop was the result of trying to balance it as I went......honestly!
The guy's are seen here taking up three Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Tom Thumb', and these were amongst some to be re-used in the new scheme.
Another border being emptied, the Choisya ternata 'Sundance' were bagged for taking away, and the black Phormiums were also kept for this site. Matt and Dom worked very hard indeed that day, and like us were ready for home by the time all had been finished.
But finish we did. The van and trailer having been loaded to the brim with shrubs, was taken to the other site, whereupon we three guy's offloaded everything and then headed home for well earned showers and beers. The Sandbanks house was left looking somewhat like the Somme just after WW1, but all should look much better in a month or so.
During the week, as things are still a little slow, there was an afternoon off, and so Amanda and myself went over to Molly's Den to have a proggle for some collectables. I was on the lookout of course for some glasses for my collection, and Amanda was keeping an open mind and heart, which never bodes well for the wallet!
We found a little milk jug and sugar bowl, and I had discovered a couple of glasses. The place is rather large, and has a cafe upstairs. Even here, everything you see is for sale. The tables you sit at, the chairs you sit on, and the cutlery and crockery also should you like particular pieces. Indeed, while we were sat, I had to quickly wrestle one of my glasses from a gentleman who had quite understandibly picked it from our table thinking it was for sale.
And here they are on the kitchen table at home. Nothing very special, but beautiful and elegant to my mind. The one on the left cost only £2, and is a cordial glass roughly from the 1930's. The one on the right cost £1, and is a cordial glass from I think around the 1960's. Very dainty.
Other work throughout the week has included loads and loads of compost mulching. A very cold and at times snowy afternoon was spent putting around four tons on the borders of the property in the picture above.
Last year I covered a planting scheme in this post, and below you can just see the new and thicker clumps of things breaking through the mulch. We are quite excited about seeing what this year brings here, as even in the first year, things grew much better than expected.
To round off a good, if hard week, we had tickets to see the Moscow Ballet La Classique perform Coppelia. The tickets were bought month's ago, by way of a present for mother's day to Celia.
The venue was to be the Bournemouth Pavilion, we were suitably suited and frocked up, and the women on my arms looked gorgeous. It's a tough job but somebody has to do it.
The fountains were thundering outside the entrance, and those around us all looked excited and full of expectation.
After a drink and chat in the theatre bar, everyone took to their seats, and a hush slowly filled the place.
The opening music began to play, and we all stared at the sumptuous red curtains, wondering what would meet our gaze when they lifted.
Sorry to disappoint, but if you want to know the answer, then go and see the ballet! Needless to say it was wonderful, with Ekaterina Shalyapina taking the part of Swanilda beautifully.
But just like Cinderella, I had to return to a normal life again. The suit was replaced the next day with gardening clothes once more, and I set about the not so glamourous task of finishing off the groundworks preparation for a new pair of compost bins at one of the gardens.